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Land Acknowledgements: Relationships & Responsibilities
What is in a Land Acknowledgement? What questions should be asked?
Land acknowledgements are an honest and historically accurate way to recognize the traditional First Nation, Metis, and/or Inuit territories of a place. It conveys the importance of the relationship to the land.
- Your own relationship with the land and water
- Who (and what) else holds relationships with the land, throughout history & today, & your connections to those peoples and beings
- Your intention behind the acknowledgement
Finally, the least of the water creatures, the muskrat, volunteered to dive. At this announcement the other water creatures laughed in scorn, because they doubted this little creature’s strength and endurance. Had not they, who were strong and able, been unable to grasp the soil from the bottom of the sea? How could he, the muskrat, the most humble among them, succeed when they could not?
Nevertheless, the little muskrat volunteered to dive. Undaunted, he disappeared into the waves. The onlookers smiled. They waited for the muskrat to emerge as empty handed as they had done. Time passed. Smiles turned to worried frowns. The small hope that each had nurtured for the success of the muskrat turned into despair. When the waiting creatures had given up, the muskrat floated to the surface more dead than alive, but he clutched in his paws a small morsel of soil. Where the great had failed, the small succeeded.Basil Johnson, Recreation Story
WORD ASSOCIATION EXERCISE
What comes first to mind when you see each of the following two lists?
- Muskrat, Beaver, Loon, Racoon
- Land, Relationship, Acknowledgement, Treaty
What does each of these words mean to you? What relationships do you have with each of these beings?